Press freedom

A collaboration between the Law School 
and School of Communication and Arts

Law can threaten press freedom, and also protect it. How do we get the balance right?

Press freedom is central to the rule of law and free speech in a liberal democracy. In Australia, press freedom lacks the legal protection or recognition found elsewhere. This has allowed our laws to encroach on press freedom and led to a ‘chilling effect’ across public interest journalism.

In 2019, following successive police raids on journalists, Australia dropped 5 places (to 26) in the World Press Freedom Index. Whilst Australia was once the model for press freedom in the Asia-Pacific Region, Reporters Sans Frontiers’ reported that it “is now characterised by its threats to the confidentiality of sources and to investigative journalism.”

This project is part of a collaborative study between the UQ Schools of Law and Communications, combining legal analysis with on-the-ground research. 

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